Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More on Vanuatu

I'm sorry these didn't get posted and written about sooner. Our time in Vanuatu was too short so I spent most of it out seeing as much as I could before we had to leave. We had a great time celebrating our 6th anniversary, eating out, visiting the markets and getting away from town to see Mele Cascades waterfalls. Here are the highlights...

The waterfalls are a short cab ride out of Vila. There was an entrance fee to the park, but worth it. The grounds are well cared for, with paths and hand ropes to guide you to the top pool of the falls. The also had a snack bar, showers, restrooms, tables and patio that made it a pleasant place to spend the day. 

Impressive bamboo stand 

Mele Cascades; waterfall near Port Vila

Very easy hike to the top, including handrails for walking over slippery  rocks

Lots of pools and rocks to hang out in and on 

There are a few great grocery stores in Vila; we found special treats we hadn't seen in a while. But the markets were definitely more colorful and interesting. 
Wonderful Port Vila Market; the most variety anywhere in the South Pacific
Ruby with a drinking coconut at the Port Vila produce market
Getting provisioned for our passage to Australia

Here's a couple things you may not have tried at home...
Choco; looks kind of like an avocado, and honeydew melon on the inside; but you pit, peel and cook it.
Has a tangy taste, great in korma, curries, soups, or where ever you need more vegetables. 
A sprouted coconut; it's the texture of foam but taste like a sweet coconut treat

Ladies playing cards near the handicraft market
These ladies could sew anything you ask for on their  antique machines

We really had a wonderful time in Vanuatu; wish we could've sailed further north, and stayed longer. But life is full of choices, and you can't do and see everything.

We're thankful for what we have been blessed with...
The moon rise.
 I love when you can see the faint shadow of the full moon  behind the crescent.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On our way to Australia

We arrived in Bundaberg last week, but making landfall, rally events, celebrating Thanksgiving and such, over-rode posting a blog. Now that things have settled down, here are the highlights...

Chesterfield Reef, New Caledonia
Nothing more than a way point on the way to Australia, but more than amazing. 

Chesterfield reef  is home to thousands of sea birds, and zero humans.
Mothers and babies were easily found and disregarded our presence.

Nests everywhere; in trees, grassy patches, and on the beach.

Nice tail feathers huh?

They flew right over us...

... and looked into our eyes with no fear.

Not much shade to be found for the young ones.

I'm not usually into bird watching... but this was a special experience.
I could have watched them soaring all day
and just living their lives.

Am I with stupid?

I took so many amazing photos the day we spent at Chesterfield, that the next day when something even more amazing happened, I only got one shot before the camera battery died.
A total solar eclipse!

If you've never seen one in real life you'll have to take my word for it; it's breath taking! To watch the sky go dark and the stars come out in the middle of the day... To see the moon and the corona of the sun all around it... and the rosey color of sunset on all horizons... it left us with a feeling of unimagined, difficult to describe, awe.

The passage from Chesterfield to Bundaberg was sweetly uneventful. The customs and immigration officials were nice and easy going. The Port to Port rally organizers did a great job.  So now we're in Australia, headed south to Brisbane... what's next?

Yes, there are just as many wild kangaroos hopping about in Australia
 as there are deer trampling through  your gardens back home.